Wednesday, October 7, 2009

US Talking Puzzle - Fave Educational Toy

For Neal's second birthday we took him to Toys R Us so he could pick his own birthday present. We had wandered through the entire store and the only thing he wanted was a big red ball. We were already in the check-out line when he spotted the United States of America Talking Puzzle. He got so excited and we were excited too--it was an educational toy. And it was a map. Maps have special importance and significance at our house. My husband LOVES maps. There is always an atlas in our bathroom.

However, the box contained the warning: ages 4 and up. Neal was just turning two. There were really small pieces. He was a pretty careful kid and rarely put things in his mouth. And I was a pretty careful mom (possibly a little too attentive to my first child). So, we bought it.

Within a week, Neal could put it together by himself and knew the names and capitals of all the states (he could already talk very well). He referred to it as "The United States of America--Neal's Map". He carried it around to show everyone that came over to visit. They were all so impressed. We were so proud and positive that we had a genius child on our hands.

Amberly was eighteen months old when she pulled out the US Talking Puzzle. She examined all the pieces in her chubby little toddler fingers and put them carefully in their places. Thomas was not quite two years old when he discovered the puzzle. He too could do it right away and learned the names of the states.

The puzzle spends most of its time on a high shelf in the kids' closet (it does have a lot of little pieces). They can't reach it by themselves. Last week Lilly pointed to it and asked me to get it down for her. She asks for it every day. She puts it together over and over and repeats the names of the states as she places each state in it's spot with her stubby fingers while I watch to make sure she or Molly doesn't swallow West Virginia.

And so, either I have four genius children (which I'm inclined to believe) or nearly every toddler could and would master this toy if given the chance (more likely).

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